The European Parliament reprimanded a Polish member for making anti-Semitic comments in a paper bearing the assembly's logo, the first-ever such sanction.
The 27-nation European Union legislature rebuked Maciej Giertych for writing that Jews „form the ghettos themselves” and „it was only Hitler's Germany that created the concept of forced separation.” The 33-page paper, published in February, is titled „Civilizations at war in Europe.” Giertych's tract is „a serious breach of fundamental rights,” Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering, a German Christian Democrat, told the 785-seat assembly today in Strasbourg, France. „Tolerance and respect for others are important European values.”
The reprimand highlights tensions in the Parliament following the EU's expansion to 10 mainly ex-communist, eastern European countries including Poland in 2004 and to Bulgaria and Romania this year. The assembly's membership is splintering and becoming more hostile to the EU. The Europe of Nations group has displaced the pro-EU Greens as the Parliament's fourth-largest faction because of a shift in alliances and the assembly has added a more extreme nationalist group - Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty - that includes members from Romania and Bulgaria.
A reprimand is one of four possible Parliament penalties against members involved in „exceptionally serious cases of disorder or disruption.” The other possible punishments are a loss of the daily subsistence allowance for up to 10 days, a suspension for as long as 10 days from Parliament activities except plenary voting and the removal from any elected posts held in the assembly.
Giertych, who sits on the Parliament's foreign-affairs committee and its delegation for relations with the US, is one of 14 lawmakers with no affiliation to a political group in the assembly, whose three largest factions are the Christian Democrats, Socialists and Liberals. Giertych was born in Warsaw on March 24, 1936. His Polish Families' League party in Poland is part of the country's governing coalition. (Bloomberg)